John C. Boehlke, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John C. Boehlke

JOHN C. BOEHLKE. The German agriculturists, as a rule, are the most thrifty of any of the foreigners who immigrate to the United States, because of the fact that they have been reared to those habits of industry, economy and prudence so characteristic of the German people. Generally they come to American soil with very little of this world's goods, but come imbued with the spirit of becoming both of us and with us, of making for themselves a home and of rearing their children to be true American citizens. Mr. Boehlke, who comes of this class of worthy Germans, has been established as a farmer in Porter county, Indiana, for thirty years and has so directed his efforts in that industry that today he ranks as one of the substantial men of the county.

He was born in Posen, a Polish province of Prussia, on June 9, 1837, and is the fourth in a family of three sons and two daughters born to Michael and Anna (Kuss) Boehlke. Three of these children are yet living, the eldest of whom is Caroline, the wife of Matthew Berger, a a farmer in Jasper county, Indiana; Mr. Boehlke of this review is next in order of birth; and Julius Boehlke, the youngest, is engaged in the furniture and undertaking business at Wanatah, Indiana. Michael Boehlke, whose business was that of a brewer, received a good German of the same province in which her husband was born. Both died in their education and was a member of the Evangelical church, of which denomnation his wife also was a member. Anna (Kuss) Boehlke was a native native land.

John C. Boehlke was reared and educated in the Fatherland and there learned the cabinet maker's trade, which he followed until twenty-eight years of age. At that time he came to the conclusion that there were greater opportunities in free America for him to make himself a home, and in May, 1865, bidding adieu to his old home and associates, he left Hamburg in a steamer bound for New York City. He landed in a strange country with less than $10 in his purse and came directly to Wanatah, Indiana. He had the sturdy and honest disposition of the German, a good business head and a pair of industrious hands with which to wage his contest for success in life. LaPorte county did not then present the appearance it does today, and the land around Wanatah was mostly covered by water. Wanatah itself consisted of three or four houses and there were but two railroads passing through Porter county. He at once obtained employment, receiving as his wages $1.25 per day, which at that time seemed considerable money to him. After two years' residence in LaPorte county he went into the lumber and furniture business on a small scale with his brother, continuing in that line of endeavor for some years. In May, 1868, he wedded Miss Rose Koselka, who was born in West Prussia, Germany, March 4, 1844, and was reared to young womanhood in her native province. She came to America with her parents, who located at Wanatah, Indiana. The first purchase of land by Mr. and Mrs. Boehlke was in 1884, when they took posesssion of one hundred and eighty acres of their present estate, going heavily in debt for it. Their farm at that time did not present a very cheerful prospect, not being in a good state of cultivation and having scarcely any improvements on it, but they set about with fortitude and industry to make of it a home. How well they have succeeded can be judged from the following statements. Today they own 300 acres of excellent land, whereon are the best of improvements, and are in independent circumstances financially. They have not only provided for themselves a comfortable and beautiful home but have thereby advanced the agricultural and financial standing of the whole county, and in the same manner may be accounted potential factors in building up and sustaining the prestige of the whole of our great commonwealth and of our nation.

Of a family of six sons and two daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. Boehlke, only two are living. Mary became the wife of R. F. Scholz, a hardware merchant at Wanatah. She was a communicant of the Catholic church, the Sacred Heart, at Wanatah, and was confirmed in her faith by Bishop Radamacher. She died December 18, 1911. She was the mother of seven children, two sons and five daughters, namely: Esther, Henry J., Lillian, Marie, Rosa, Leonard and Gertie. She received her education in the common schools and the high school at LaPorte, Indiana. She was a lady of pleasing personality, and had the universal respect of all who knew her. Her death in the family was likened to the severing of a golden link in a chain. Mr. Scholz, her husband, is one of the successful merchants of Wanatah. He is a Democrat, and a member of the Catholic church. John N. Boehlke, the elder son living, who resides on the paternal homestead, is highly esteemed as a young man of fine character and is a practical farmer. He received a good education in the Wanatah schools, and is a Republican in politics. He wedded Miss Anna Gruse, and to them has been born one son, Cornelius Hubert Boehlke. Both are members of the Sacred Heart Catholic church at Wanatah, their confirmation having been under Bishop Alerding. Henry W. Boehlke, the younger son, graduated from the public schools in 1906 and in 1908 matriculated as a student in the liberal arts department of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he remained one year. He then took up the same course of study in Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, continuing there two years. Following this preparation, he entered the Michigan College of Mines at Houghton, Michigan, where he is now a student. In the assiduous devotion with which this able and ambitious young man is striving for the best of educational attainments is seen further evidence of the German spirit which has been so potent an influence in contributing to American culture and the advancement of mankind in general. He is a communicant of the Sacred Heart Catholic church at Wanatah, confirmed in his membership by Bishop Alerding of the Northern Bishopric of Indiana, and affiliates as a member of the Knights of Columbus. Mrs. Boehlke is a communicant of the Catholic church, while Mr. Boehlke is a member of the German Evangelical church and gave financial aid in the erection of the present church edifice of that denomination in Wanatah. At all times he has been a liberal contributor toward worthy benevolences.

Mr. and Mrs. Boehlke, who are now in the evening of life with its fast lengthening shadows, are comfortably and peacefully situated with their children and friends about them to comfort their declining years. He has passed and she is nearing the three-quarters milestone of life's journey, and it is with pleasure that we preserve on these pages for their children and grandchildren the record of their worthy and noble lives.

[Note: Numerous spelling, grammar, and typographical errors are contained in the original of this biography of John C. Boehlke.]

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 521-523

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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